National Biodiversity Centre Celebrates the International Day for Biodiversity

National Biodiversity Centre Celebrates the International Day for Biodiversity

On the 22nd May, the world celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity. This year’s Biodiversity Day celebration focused on the theme "Building a shared future for all life". The theme aims to continue building momentum and support for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference #COP15.

Biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.

To properly kick off the celebratory activities, SPGA organized an open day for school children and members of the public at the National Biodiversity Centre on Friday 20th May. The aim of this was to promote the Biodiversity Centre, showcase its importance in our eco-system and to educate those present on the critical value which the garden boasts. Located at Barbarons, the National Biodiversity Centre was first introduced in 1998 but formally launched to the public in 2014. The 17 hectares of land aims to conserve and showcase the Seychelles’ wide range of flora by allowing visitors to experience the vegetation of different ecosystems present in Seychelles.

Biodiversity Centre Manager

Boasting at least 115 different plants of which 29 are of endemic species, the Biodiversity Centre enables Seychelles to continue its leading role in the conservation of Biodiversity and to reinforce development of ecotourism in Seychelles. It is in this manner that the Center’s main objective is to present a diversity of species that is rare, threatened and of remarkable ecosystem that is of fragile nature of Seychelles Islands.

Besides its commitment to offer a unique visitor experience when visiting the garden full of endemic and important indigenous plants of Seychelles, the Biodiversity Centre also boast a nursery. This facilitates local residents to obtain seeds and seedlings for replanting in their own gardens and contribute towards the national effort to conserve the rare and endangered plants of Seychelles. Here you will discover all the six endemic palms of the country. The Centre is vast but the flat terrain permits everyone to access all its corners and gardens.

Students from schools all over Mahe, had the opportunity to experience a guided and educational tour of the garden by Ms. Rosaline and Mr. Doudee. For many it was their first time visiting this picturesque site and the students also participated in a thrilling treasure hunt. Present also was a British couple; Mr. and Mrs Fatania, who pleasantly requested to join in on the activities, in a way to do their part towards contributing to Seychelles’ environment. They have promised to return to the Seychelles and the Biodiversity Centre to see for themselves the growth of their plant.  The first group of students and the couple were treated to a tree planting activity, whereby 30 endemic palms namely; Lantannyen Fey, Lantannyen Oban and Lantannyen Milpat. The open day was a key activity in SPGA’s aim in raising awareness on endemic and native plants of Seychelles.

School Students

Although the Biodiversity Centre is thriving and sustainably managed, there several issues when it comes to public awareness and action. Noticeably, there is a lack of education by the local population, as many times endemic plants are destroyed by human actions. Much effort and work is undertaken by the National Biodiversity Centre to ensure that these plants are successfully restored, and but this is not always possible.

A discounted plant sale was also on the program of the day. The public were able to purchase a vast array of plants at a 15% discount rate. These endemic and ornamental plants will surely enhance the homes and gardens of the buyers, as well as creating the perfect opportunity to bring conservation closer to the public.

At the end of the tree planting, the Biodiversity Centre Management was thrilled to welcome the suggestion of a donation to the garden by Mr. and Mrs. Fatania. SPGA seizes this opportunity to further reiterate to the public that we can all play our part in ensuring the protection and conservation of our endemic and native species.